First word: Mum and Dad are on jet boats while I dry wet socks

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Set aside the material comforts and opportunities that came with my typical, middle-class Aussie upbringing, and it can be tough being the child of baby boomers.

Particularly baby boomer parents like mine – in their SKI-ing prime, Spending their Kids' Inheritance (or so it would seem) on overseas holidays and adventurous trips around Australia.

When I told my globetrotting Mum and Dad I was moving to Canberra earlier this year, it only took a few minutes for the worst of it to sink in.

"Oh no … we've lost our airport taxi driver," Mum said. 

"And who's going to collect our mail from the post office box when we're away?"

When I lived close to my parents in Sydney, we had the trip to the international terminal down pat. “Make sure you text me when you get there,” I’d say on the way. And, as they slammed the boot shut and gave me a wave, “Email me your itinerary so I know when to pick you up.”


In the past few years I've gotten used to listening over the phone as they told stories of that day's cruise down the Rhine, or a gondola ride in Venice, while I waited in the checkout line at Woollies, or picked wet socks out of the washing machine.

As a typical Gen Y-er, I've done my share of gallivanting. But a journalist’s wage and six weeks annual leave is no match for the stretch of retirement and a healthy superannuation fund.

The boomers are hard to keep track of, too. When they’re not hooning down a highway in the caravan (It came with the name “Beauty”, so they promptly nicknamed the Landcruiser “The Beast”), they’re jetting off on adrenaline-filled group tours.

Last week, during a trip to the Top End, my Mum listened patiently over the phone one night as I rambled on about work, my dinner and an irksome smoke alarm.

Once I had finished, she said: “Well, we had a pretty amazing day.” Then she told me they'd spent the day soaring in seaplanes, zipping through gorges on speedboats and taking ocean dips with sharks.

Afterwards, I phoned my older brother – a hard-working father of two.

“Our parents lead more exciting lives than we do,” I told him.

There was silence. "Yep,'' he said. 

As bemused as the two of us are that the tables have turned and we're now the ones who head to work each day and chip away at our mortgages, my brother and I would never dream of laying on the guilt or envy.

Like so many baby boomer parents, ours worked hard and made countless sacrifices for us.

It makes me happy to see them enjoying this season of their life together – many couples don’t get the same opportunity.

Plus, I'd probably never admit it to them, but it’s pretty cool having parents in their 60s who hang out of planes and swim with sharks.

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